A lot of landlords choose to absolve themself from dealing with gas safety. Delegating the task of property maintenance to a property manager or hiring a gas safe engineer and not looking at the details of the check.
This article explains simply how a landlord should go through the process of obtaining a landlord gas safety certificate and why it’s important to understand this document in the first place. From if a landlord is able to access a property during a gas safety check to knowing who needs a landlord gas safety certificate in the first place. All will be revealed in this article as you read on.
What are the responsibilities of a landlord in terms of gas safety?
Conclusively, in all types of tenancy agreements where there are gas appliances in a property, a landlord is responsible for the gas safety of a property. Sometimes a landlord may choose to delegate the task of managing gas-safe engineers and making sure the checks are done on time to a property manager. Having said this, the responsibility always falls on the landlord.
For example, if there was a gas leak that resulted in the death or injury of a tenant and it was the property manager’s job to conduct a proper gas safety check and obtain a landlord gas safety check but they didn’t, the landlord will still have to be responsible on some part for not overseeing this aspect of maintenance.
Having said this, the property manager, in this case, would be liable for some damages to the property such as if they said they would conduct a gas safety check but they didn’t.
What should a landlord do in a gas emergency?
Gas emergencies like a broken boiler or a gas leak warrant a landlord to be able to enter the property on an emergency basis to conduct repairs. However, a landlord still has to give the tenant 24 hours’ notice and ask for permission from the tenant.
Most of the time though, because of the severity of gas problems in a property resulting in a lack of heating or the inability to cook food or potentially live in a property safely, a tenant will welcome repairs to their property so they can get back to the quality of living they are used to.
It is a landlord’s job to make sure that a tenant is aware they are in breach of their tenancy agreement if they continue to refuse access to a property. Likewise, if a landlord refuses to conduct repairs on a property, they are also in breach of their half of the tenancy agreement to provide a safe home that is able to be heated.
In this instance, a tenant can report a landlord to the Health and Safety Executive.
Is the landlord responsible for gas safety?
A landlord is the owner of a property. They can be paying off a mortgage or owning the property outright but whoever has their name on the property legally is responsible for the welfare of tenants.
In cases where there are lodgers or subtenants in a property, these cases also make a landlord responsible for the tenant’s welfare. Head tenants or mesne tenants (the head tenant managing the subletters of the property) are never responsible for gas safety unless they have signed a lease longer than seven years and the lease is past seven years.
In this scenario, gas safety responsibilities are transferred over to the tenant rather than the landlord. However, in any other scenario, it is illegal to ask a tenant to take responsibility for the safety of gas in a property by writing this in a tenancy agreement.
What is the cost of a landlord gas safety certificate?
Landlord gas safety certificates cost money because you have to hire a gas safe engineer to conduct the gas safety check and also pay for any equipment used in the process. The issuing of a gas safety certificate can get even more expensive if there are any remedial works that must be done on the home.
How much is a landlord gas safety certificate?
Ultimately, the average price for a landlord gas safety certificate is £40 – £100. This strictly depends on the size of the home, the number of appliances it has and what gas safety engineer you hire.
Do landlords need carbon monoxide detector alarms?
If there is a room in the property you own as a landlord with a fuel-burning appliance such as a fireplace, this will then warrant the need to have a carbon monoxide alarm in the property.
This should be picked up on by the gas safe engineer when doing a gas safety check to issue a landlord gas safety certificate. However, knowing the rules so you can point out where in the property has a fuel-burning appliance will help the engineer out.
On top of this, because this legislation is new, and only coming into effect in October 2022, it is likely you will have to add in a carbon monoxide alarm for the first time.
Do you need to hire a qualified gas-safe engineer?
It is mandatory for a gas safe engineer to issue a landlord gas safety certificate. This is because they are monitored by the Gas Safety Register (GSR) which shows that the engineer is compliant with safety regulations.
On top of this, it shows they have completed qualifications that make them able to work on the most up-to-date gas appliances. Some gas-safe engineers also do additional training every year to sign up with further professional bodies such as The National Association of Professional Inspectors and Testers (NAPIT).
NAPIT isn’t a professional body that landlords have to hire gas safe engineers from, but, this is a further step you can take to ensure the legitimacy of an engineer. For more on how this professional body works and the tests they have their engineers pass, click here.
Should a landlord always trust the advice of a gas safe registered engineer
Generally speaking, it is hard for a gas safe engineer to lie about any remedial works because they have to clearly state what the problem is in the Landlord Gas Safety Report (LGSR) that is filled out with every gas safety check.
Having said this, if you find there is something that sounds not right, you can ask for a second opinion by hiring another gas safe engineer to see what they think. Having said this, this process will cost additional money.
If you aren’t sure about the remedial works a gas engineer is asking you to do or you’re unsure if the gas safety check was conducted in the right way, asking any questions isn’t harmful and only shows your curiosity as a landlord. It is completely normal to question things and this can be done politely without sounding like you are questioning the engineer’s authenticity or professionalism.
Adding to this, having a base level of understanding about gas safety checks will help you understand what an LGSR means.
What is an annual gas safety check?
An annual gas safety check refers to the mandatory maintenance a landlord has to do on a property that is regulated in an assured tenancy agreement.
Is it mandatory to have an annual gas safety check?
It is mandatory under regulations to have a gas safety certificate valid at all times when a tenant is living in a property. A landlord gas safety certificate, issued after a gas safety check, is valid for twelve months before it has to be renewed again by doing the same process of getting a qualified engineer to check a property.
Can I keep a Landlord Gas Safety Certificate electronically?
It is completely legal and sometimes easier to issue a landlord gas safety certificate electronically. This is because it is then made easier for a landlord to transfer this file to new tenants that live in the property which is required by law.
Furthermore, any current tenants who would like to see the gas safety certificate up to date every year can be forwarded the certificate. This prevents a landlord from having to keep the original file and photocopy it.
This saves paper, space and energy and helps keep things organised. However, if a landlord wants a physical copy, then it is the duty of the gas safety engineer to issue a paper copy as well.
What property managers must do to conduct gas safety
Property managers help manage a property on behalf of a landlord and one of their main roles is conducting maintenance on a property that is mandatory. As a result, a property manager, if asked to, should be able to find a few gas safety engineers in the area and ask them to issue a landlord gas safety certificate.
If the property is failing on its gas safety check, it is then up to the property manager to communicate this to the landlord so they are up to date. This is because despite the property manager acting on behalf of the landlord, most of the time and depending on the agreement the property manager and landlord have in place, a landlord is still responsible for the safety of tenants under the law.
Should housing associations have a landlord gas safety certificate?
Housing associations act like landlords themselves. This is because, those who have social housing but do not have housing through a local authority, have to communicate with the housing association and treat them like a landlord.
Hence, a housing association must conduct gas safety checks and issue a landlord gas safety certificate every year like any other tenancy and inform tenants that this check has been carried out, providing a copy of the certificate if requested.
Should local authorities have a landlord gas safety certificate?
Like housing associations, local authorities also can be the landlords of tenants in social housing, as a result, they will have to do all the relevant gas safety checks and issue a landlord gas safety certificate in the same way. For more on how a housing association tenancy works read here as while there are a lot of similarities between local authorities and housing associations there are a few differences too.
A local authority will have to write to a tenant and ask when the best time would be to conduct repairs. Organise an inspection and carry out any remedial works necessary after the gas safe engineer has done their job.
Lastly, looking at everything conclusively, it is clear that most of the responsibility lies with the landlord for conducting gas safety checks. Hence, not understanding landlord gas safety certificates is inexcusable. If you don’t understand how they work in legislation, this can result in the death of tenants or a hefty fine you would have to pay to a local authority for not complying with regulations.
So, before you nominate someone to take care of gas safety for you as a landlord, be sure to understand the basics at least. This way you’d know how repairs should be carried out and if a gas-safe engineer is doing their job correctly.